Peterson Announces 2009-10 Softball Recruiting Class

By Doug Fitzgerald published November 24, 2008

University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball coach Scott Peterson announced Monday the signing of nine players, including two all-Colorado selections, for the 2009-10 season.

Joining the Mountain Lions for the 2009-10 season will be Lara Mathewson from Holy Family High School and Tahnea Leeling from Highlands Ranch HS, both of whom were all-Colorado selections by the Rocky Mountain News. That duo will be joined by four other in-state signees: Caitlin Connelly from Holy Family HS, Kailey Hernandez from Lakewood HS, Allie Walen from Colombine HS and Courtney Bezanson from Berthoud HS.

Also heading to UCCS will be Stephanie Gebhardt from Ursuline Academy in St. Louis, Landry Davis from Seton Catholic HS in Chandler, Ariz., and Melissa DeWitt from Boulder Creek HS in Phoenix.

While Mathewson, who chose UCCS over Division I Colorado State, is the blue chip of the class, Peterson is excited about the depth and athleticism of the incoming freshmen.

"Coming in, we didn't anticipate signing this many players, but the quality of these kids was impossible to pass up," said Peterson. "While this might seem like a large recruiting class, the national trend is going towards larger rosters."

He's also pleased by the speed of the newcomers. The Mountain Lions have led the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in stolen bases in each of the past three seasons.

"We wanted to add some speed, which we've done," said Peterson. "Davis, Gebhart and Hernandez are going to steal a lot of bases."

Lara Mathewson, Infielder, Holy Family HS
A superbly talented infielder, Mathewson has spent the fall collecting awards. She was named the Colorado player of the year by the Boulder Daily Camera and was the Class 3A player of the year according to both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News. Both Denver newspapers also named her to the all-Colorado teams in both 2007 and 2008. As a senior, she hit a remarkable .657 with six home runs and 38 RBIs in 22 games.

Over her four-year high school career, Mathewson hit over .554, .494, .552 and .657. She combined to drive in 125 runs with 40 doubles, 18 triples and 13 home runs. She was named Class 3A all-state by the Rocky Mountain News in each of her four high school seasons and was also a four-time all-region selection by the Boulder Daily Camera. She was a four-time all-Metro League selection and was player of the year for 2007 and senior of the year for 2008.

Stephanie Gebhardt, Outfielder, Ursuline Academy, St. Louis MO
A speedy slap hitter in the mold of former UCCS star Brianna Workman, Gebhardt will be difficult for opposing defenses to handle. Over her past two seasons in high school and club ball, Gebhardt stole an eye-opening 102 bases in 113 attempts.

She has been ranked in the top 10 in the Metro Women's Athletic Association the past three years in batting average, on base percentage and stolen bases. She led the conference in batting as a senior, hitting .481 and was third in on base percentage at .518

Landry Davis, Infielder/Outfielder, Seton Catholic HS Chandler AZ
The starting second baseman since her freshman year at Seton Catholic Prep, a perennial state championship contender in Arizona, Davis is a left-handed slap hitter with superior speed.

She was a first-team Class 4A II all-region player in 2008 after hitting .452 with a .535 on base percentage. She also scored 32 runs, drove in 17 and stole 12 bases. Defensively, she posted a .902 fielding percentage in 195 innings.

Davis has played for the prestigious Arizona Hotshot club team since 2002.

Caitlin Connelly, Catcher, Holy Family HS
A Class 3A All-State honorable mention selection by both the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, Connelly hit .433 with 20 RBIs this past season. She was chosen to play on the Class 3A team at the Colorado Coaches Association All-Star State Games.

A four-year varsity letter winner, Connelly hit .389 as a junior and .386 as a sophomore. She was a first-team all-conference (District B) selection in both 2007 and 2008 and was a second-team pick in 2006. She was all-state honorable mention all three seasons.

Melissa DeWitt, Outfielder, Boulder Creek HS, Phoenix AZ
DeWitt was a first-team all-Northwest Region selection as a junior in 2008 and was an honorable mention all-region selection as a sophomore in 2007. Since Arizona high school softball is played in the spring, she hasn't yet competed as a senior.

The team captain in both 2007 and 2008, she led Boulder Creek to its first state playoff appearance in 2008, which was just the program's third year. She was named the team's top defender both seasons and led the Jaguars with a .397 batting average and a .687 slugging percentage in 2007. She has also excelled in the classroom, maintaining a 3.97 GPA.

A seven-year veteran of Arizona's competitive club softball scene, DeWitt's teams qualified for the ASA Nationals from 2005-08. Her 2008 team, the Arizona Hotshots, finished 17th out of 120 teams at nationals.

Kailey Hernandez, Infielder, Lakewood HS
A speedy, left-handed slap hitter, Hernandez hit .376 as a senior after posting a .447 mark as a junior. She was a first-team all-Jeffco 5A selection both seasons. As a senior, she was picked to play in the Colorado Coaches Association All-Star State Game.

Hernandez is versatile, having been an all-conference selection as both a center fielder and a second baseman. She's also strong academically and is a Presidential Award recipient.

Tahnea Leeling, Catcher, Highlands Ranch HS
Leeling was named to the All-Colorado Softball Team by the Rocky Mountain News after a remarkable senior season during which she hit .433 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs in less that 80 at bats. She was a Class 5A honorable mention selection by the Denver Post.

Leeling has shown a propensity for vast improvement from year to year. She hit just .214 as a sophomore at Highlands Ranch HS before improving to .283 as a junior and blossoming as a senior.

Allie Walen, Infielder/Outfielder, Columbine HS
Walen has been the starting shortstop for Columbine HS, which has qualified for state the past two seasons. Aside from solid play in the field, she also hit .303 and scored 17 runs as a senior. She's no stranger to the UCCS coaching staff, having attended the school's softball camp the past two years.

Courtney Bezanson, First Base/Pitcher, Berthoud HS
Bezanson ranked sixth in Class 4A with 148 strikeouts as a senior at Berthoud HS, while walking only 39 in 136 innings pitched. Her ERA was a sparkling 1.70.

Also a first baseman, she hit .333 with 12 RBIs in 60 at bats as a senior and .322 as a junior.

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Brianna WorkmanBrianna Workman4OFFr.
Tahnea LeelingTahnea Leeling14C/UT
Tahnea LeelingTahnea Leeling14C/UT
Tahnea LeelingTahnea Leeling14C/UT
Lara MathewsonLara Mathewson44IFFr
Lara MathewsonLara Mathewson44IFFr
Lara MathewsonLara Mathewson44IFFr
Lara MathewsonLara Mathewson44IFSr
Allie WalenAllie WalenSS/OF
Caitlin ConnellyCaitlin Connelly57C/1B
Caitlin ConnellyCaitlin Connelly57C/1B
Melissa DeWittMelissa DeWitt191B
Melissa DeWittMelissa DeWitt191B
Melissa DeWittMelissa DeWitt191B
Kailey HernandezKailey Hernandez29OF
Kailey HernandezKailey Hernandez29OF
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